Here's another reason to get active: Exercise may reduce the risk of 13 types of cancer, a new study finds.
Researchers analyzed information from 1.4 million people in the United States and Europe; the subjects were in 12 different study groups and were followed for about 11 years. Participants were asked whether they did moderate or vigorous exercise in their free time, like walking, swimming or running, and how much physical activity they got.
During the study period, more than 186,000 cases of cancer were diagnosed in the study participants.
People were classified as doing higher levels of exercise if they were in the top 10 percent of all people in their study groups for the amount of exercise they did. These individuals had a reduced risk of 13 types of cancer compared to the people who were in the lowest 10 percent of their study groups.
These were the 13 cancers, with their associated amounts of risk reduction:
· Esophageal cancer, a 42 percent lower risk
· Liver cancer, a 27 percent lower risk
· Lung cancer, a 26 percent lower risk
· Kidney cancer, a 23 percent lower risk
· Stomach cancer of the cardia (top portion of the stomach), a 22 percent lower risk
· Endometrial cancer, a 21 percent lower risk
· Myeloid leukemia, a 20 percent lower risk
· Myeloma, a 17 percent lower risk
· Colon cancer, a 16 percent lower risk
· Head and neck cancer, a 15 percent lower risk
· Rectal cancer, a 13 percent lower risk
· Bladder cancer, a 13 percent lower risk
· Breast cancer, a 10 percent lower risk
Overall, high levels of physical activity were linked with a 7 percent lower risk of any cancer, according to the study.
"These findings support promoting physical activity as a key component of population-wide cancer-prevention and -control efforts," the researchers wrote in the May 16 issue of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.